International Insights: Andrés Amaya, Andina Brewing — Vancouver, BC

International Insights is a continuing series of Q&As with brewing members, but this time branching outside of the US and into the rest of the world.
In this series, Brewer will share personal insights from international breweries each week about the craft beer market in other countries, where those brewers get their inspiration, and how the market compares to craft beer in the US.

Andrés Amaya, owner, Andina Brewing — Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

BREWER: What can you tell me about the history of Andina and the most popular beers at your brewery?
AMAYA: Andina Brewing Co. is the inspiration of two brothers that grew up in Colombia, South America and moved to Canada over 20 years ago. We decided to open Andina Brewing Co. for the love of beer that we have. The concept started in 2015 but Andina Brewing opened its tasting lounge doors on March 1, 2017. Andina Brewing is a fusion between South American and British Columbia’s scent, flavour, sights and sounds. It is our wish to provide an experience that celebrates the diversity of our wonderful South American culture and ingredients brewing beer and preparing food with imagination and passion. We focus on bringing unique brews and unexpected flavours. To this date, we have used over 23 different varieties of fruit in our beers. We have four core beers and usually release a limited every 2-3 weeks. Our Brumosa Hazy Pale Ale is usually dry-hopped with different hops every batch. We recently released Brumosa V using Wai-iti hops from New Zealand. We have used Mosaic, Galaxy, Idaho 7 & Azacca hops in our previous versions of our flavourful Brumosa. Our Palida Hazy Pale Ale is a refreshing citrusy Hazy made Citra, Mosaic and Amarillo hop. This beer won a silver medal at the British Columbia Beer Awards 2019 — second place among 64 total entries in this category. Our most popular beer is Jalea Guava Saison, made with pink guava brought from Colombia. This Saison is smooth and creamy champagne taste balanced out with spicy notes and beautiful guava colour.

BREWER: What are the popular styles in Vancouver/BC? How does that compare to the rest of Canada?
AMAYA: It varies from year to year, but I can tell you that sours and IPAs are extremely popular in British Columbia. Both of these have fruit-forward flavours from either the hops of the actual fruit additions plus lower bitterness than many older styles and people are really drawn to that. There are local breweries that only brew and release variations of India Pale Ales and they sell well. Andina Brewing has released several sours this year and they have sold extremely well.

BREWER: Where do you/does the brewery get inspiration for new beers?AMAYA: Inspiration for our beers comes from the root of our brewery, which is Colombia. This wonderful, South American country has a wealth of history and tropical beauty. We want to create beers that transport our customers to that place by using tropical fruit in our sours, brewing IPAs with citrus notes and making refreshing beers that could be enjoyed on a Colombian beach.

BREWER: How has COVID-19 affected your country and your brewery? What restrictions have been put in place by the government, and how are you adapting?
AMAYA: Covid-19 was a monster — on March 16 we were mandated to close our lounge and all other restaurants and pubs the same. We had to lay off our entire team except for our Head Brewer, Ben, and our Head Chef, Julian. These two gentlemen both helped out tremendously during the closure, wearing different hats to help out in various areas of the business. The owners of Andina Brewing helped doing deliveries of canned products to liquor stores and private deliveries to customers. This also meant that our kegs sales to restaurants and pubs went overnight to zero. Additionally, our tasting lounge sales went to practically nothing during the closing. On May 21 we re-opened during Phase 2 and we are now slowly moving towards selling a bit more of kegs to restaurants and pubs as they slowly re-open. Needless to say, this has been extremely hard for all microbreweries in Vancouver and all over Canada. 


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